The Delaware Department of Labor announced the launch of a new unemployment insurance benefits system that will process claims for independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and others as detailed in the CARES Act. These individuals can now file benefits claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Under federal guidelines, for workers to be eligible for PUA, they must first apply for benefits through the traditional unemployment system and be denied. Applicants will then receive a letter of denial for traditional unemployment benefits.
The denial letter will trigger a second letter explaining their potential eligibility for PUA and specific instructions on how to apply. The second letter will include directions on how to access the new PUA Benefits website, login details for the website, and documentation required when applying for PUA benefits.
To be eligible for PUA benefits, people must submit a self-certification as part of the PUA claim attesting that they meet one of the following COVID-19 reasons:
• I have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and am seeking a medical diagnosis
• A member of my household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
• I am providing care for a family member or household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
• A child or other person in my household for which I have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the school or other facility care is required for me to work
• I am unable to reach my place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency
• I am unable to reach my place of employment because I have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
• I was scheduled to commence employment and do not have a job or am unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency
• I have become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of my household has died as a direct result of COVID-19
• I had to quit my job as a direct result of COVID-19
• My place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
To apply online, go to http://ui.delawareworks.com.
Workers eligible for PUA benefits could receive anywhere from $733 to $1,000 per week in total benefits. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $133 per week; it can be as high as $400 if documentation is provided to support a higher weekly benefit amount. Pay statements, W2s, 1099s, and tax returns are examples of documentation that can be submitted to support a higher weekly benefit amount. In addition to the weekly benefit amount, eligible individuals will receive an additional $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
Eligible claimants will only receive the additional $600 benefit through the week ending July 25. Approved unemployment insurance benefits may last, depending upon eligibility, through the week ending Saturday, Dec. 26.
Delaware’s system will allow applicants to apply for benefits back to the week of March 15, when Gov. Carney issued the first amendment to Delaware’s State of Emergency declaration. However, the added $600 benefit will only be retroactive to the week ending April 4.